After one positive drive for the Central defense, the Indians’ fortunes quickly turned.
An opening offensive drive that resulted in negative-30 yards set the tone the rest of the evening for a decisive 41-7 win by Lee’s Summit North on Friday at Noyes Field.
The Broncos (2-0), ranked No. 7 in Class 6 in the Missouri Media high school football rankings, rushed for 283 yards and stymied the Central offense all night en route to a crushing victory in Central’s home opener.
“You just gotta stay tough. It’s been a tough two weeks,” Central senior safety Jake Judah said. “Losses are losses. You’ve gotta get past them in order to get a win.”
Central (0-2) finished with just 30 yards rushing.
After a struggle of a first possession, Judah was flagged for a defensive pass interference on a fourth-down try by the Broncos. The next play resulted in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Christian Carter to Keyon Mozee to begin the Broncos onslaught.
The Indians remained poised and ended the first quarter down just 7-0, but Ontario Russell turned the tides with a 59-yard score for North early in the second quarter.
Carter brought the score to 21-0 with a leaping dive over a defender at the goal line, and Mozee added a 76-yard run score late in the second quarter for a 28-0 halftime lead.
“I thought we fought really hard in the first quarter, just didn’t come up with any points,” Central coach Regi Trotter said. “We played well in the first half, but not well enough.”
When it came to stopping North’s spread rushing attack, Trotter pointed more at the failures in his team’s execution in assignments while crediting the athleticism of the Broncos.
North quickly went up 41-0 on a rushing score and fumble recovery by Logan Thornton in the third before Central showed signs of life. Taylor Wells connected with Cooper Zahnd for a 14-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone.
Judah responded on the ensuing defensive drive with an interception.
“It’s still a loss,” Trotter said. “We’ve gotta go back to the drawing board and figure out what our guys can do and get better.”
Central returns to Noyes Field at 7 p.m. Friday when it hosts the 0-2 Park Hill South Panthers to open Suburban Conference play.